Of course, the raw figures must be carefully interpreted. Only a very small minority of all executive agreements were based exclusively on the powers of the President as commander-in-chief and external relations body; The rest was approved in advance by Congress by law or by the provisions of the Treaty ratified by the Senate.440 Therefore, consideration of the constitutional importance of executive agreements must begin with a differentiation between the types of agreements that must be classified under this single heading.441 Congress has authorized executive officials to enter into negotiations and conclude agreements with foreign governments. 443 Perhaps the first formal authorization in advance of an executive agreement was the adoption of a statute authorizing the postmaster to “enter into agreements with the postmasters in any foreign country for the reciprocal receipt and delivery of mail and parcels, by post offices.” 444 Congress also approved, generally by decision, other executive agreements, such as the annexation of Texas and Hawaii and the acquisition of Samoa.445 A fertile source of executive agreements has been the approval of reciprocal agreements between the United States and other countries to guarantee the protection of patents, copyrights and trademarks.446 If the President makes an executive agreement, what kind of commitment has he given to the United States? It is clear that it can impose international obligations with potentially serious consequences, and it is equally clear that these obligations can be extended over a long period of time.488 The nature of national obligations imposed by executive agreements is not so obvious. Do contracts and executive agreements have the same impact on domestic policy?489 contracts pre-exist state law by applying the supremacy clause. While agreements made under the authorization or contractual commitment of Congress also stem from the preventive force of the supremacy clause, this textual basis for the pre-emption period is probably absent for executive agreements based exclusively on the president`s constitutional powers. The Senate rejected a series of contracts in the last quarter of the 19th century. To avoid the same fate for his peace agreement with Spain, President William McKinley appointed three U.S. senators in 1898 to negotiate the treaty. Senators from both parties strongly criticized his action, but the Senate ultimately agreed to ratify the resulting treaty. A generation later, senators criticized President Woodrow Wilson for not including members in the delegation that negotiated the Treaty of Versailles, ended the First World War and established the League of Nations. Instead, Wilson negotiated the contract in person. When the president delivered the treaty to the Senate on July 10, 1919, most Democrats supported it, but Republicans were divided. The “reservists,” led by Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, only sought treaty approval if certain reservations or amendments were accepted.
The “irreversibles” rejected the treaty in all its forms. In November, Lodge sent the contract to the Senate with 14 reservations, prompting a furious Wilson to ask Democrats to reject Lodge`s plan. November 1919, a group of Democratic senators joined the irreconcilable to defeat the treaty. The United States never ratified the Treaty of Versailles and did not join the League of Nations.